BUSINESS

THE ONLINE BOOM

As the stimulus euphoria wanes, and job losses deepen, consumer spending is expected to slow

USA

July 2020

Contributor: SOFIA CELESTE

It is still early to predict how the Covid-19 pandemic will impact sales over the next 12 months. Initially, a backlog of merchandise prompted retailers to markdown apparel and goods, and as a result, online sales of apparel and accessories posted double-digit growth in the US and the rest of the world, with even small and medium-sized companies boasting stellar sales growth in the months of March, April and May.

As the stimulus euphoria wanes, and job losses deepen, consumer confidence and spending is expected to slow. On a global level, Bain & Co’s latest Luxury Study for 2020 forecasts a contraction between 20 to 35 percent for the full-year 2020, with a recovery expected in 2022 and 2023.

More than standout names and companies, we need to pay attention to waves and trends that will change the luxury sector as we know it in the near and medium-term. Science, technology and apparel and beauty are merging more than ever before, synergising to create a more eco-sustainable industry on the whole. Established brands like Levis, New Balance, Nike are trailblazing in that arena, while emerging brands like Reformation and Everlane are proving that eco, ethical and transparency has a true place in the luxury market.

Macy’s Courtesy photos

STREET & FASHION

THE SPENDING POWER

More collaborations between emerging labels and athletic brands

USA

July 2020

As the casualisation of men’s and womenswear goes on and more Americans continue to work from home and in their yoga pants, we will see many more collaborations between emerging labels and athletic brands.

Street wear in the age of Covid will impact streetwear greatly as anti-viral technologies target the safety concerns of consumers and masks, gloves and face shields become the new norm on the streets. Streetwear brands are already heeding the call.

When it comes to deciding the strongest sales areas in fashion, affordability is key. The 18 and 24-year-old demographic’s consumer choices will continue to be driven by their spending power, which will certainly be affected by the unemployment situation. Ath-leisure and athletic brands will likely continue to find success with footwear, as more and more teens and young adults ditch the hassle of cars and the unnecessary costs of car insurance for durable footwear

DKNY Halsey Hero Ad Campaign

SUSTAINABILITY

A LONG WAY TO GO

We can hope that industries around the world meet their own sustainability goals

USA

July 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic gave the world an unrealistic reprieve from our environmental concerns. I think those who have the spending power will be eager to travel even more than ever, as they have already spent months at home dreaming about their next adventure and are probably already booking their own accommodations for the holiday season. Those who don’t have the spending power, will appreciate staying home and spending time with friends and spending time in nature.
Sustainability was not a key concern, unfortunately, for the Trump administration, but if you take a closer look, individual state governments have set up various initiatives. One that comes to mind is what the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, through its partner Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA), a non-profit Institute, has achieved and has become one of the main drivers of the Massachusetts manufacturing-based revolution that is reviving small towns like Fall River. By linking up with MITs world of scientists and engineers, old mills and laboratories alike are transforming traditional fibres and fabrics into sophisticated integrated and networked devices and systems. With state funding and MIT’s assistance, one of AFFOA’s major goals is putting Massachusetts on the map as a global leader in advanced and even sustainable fabrics.

Oversall, I think the United States has a long way to go in its quest to educate and enlighten the average consumer. In my opinion, there is a huge gap between the Baby Boomer generation of excess and the millennial generations, while the middle-aged consumer is perhaps the most well-informed and concerned about the future of their children and grandchildren. For now, we can hope that industries around the world meet their own sustainability goals by 2025 and the fashion industries change their wasteful ways, so we don’t have to rely as much on the average consumer to make the world a better place.

New Balance Courtesy photo

CELEBRITIES & INFLUENCERS

STORYTELLING

Storytelling and impactful lifestyle dedicated to wellness and sustainability will emerge ever-more victorious

USA

July 2020

Core influencers with a flair for storytelling, impactful lifestyle dedicated to wellness and sustainability will emerge ever-more victorious in 2020 and beyond – particularly the over 35 set which has the potential to penetrate the over-40 luxury shoppers who have true spending power.

A-listers like Gwyneth Paltrow and Jessica Alba whose followings are in the millions, will continue to grow, while Alicia Silverstone, who recently launched her own brand of organic herbals will continue to impact spending behaviour in the US. Others like Susan Yara (191K followers on Instagram), an American, Korean and Mexican beauty blogger and commentator, who provides her followers with an in-depth review on products based on the results, as well as the ingredients and chemicals in each product, will continue to resonate among “woke” consumers.

Others like socialite, heiress and lifestyle brand-entrepreneurs Aerin Lauder, India Hicks (Bahama-based British) lifestyle guru and Rebecca de Ravanel of the eponymous jewellery and clothing brand, will woo consumers with the whimsical sense of escapism that emanates from their social media pages, families and experiences.

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